It was a busy weekend at The IBM Influencer Lounge hosted by Social Media Today at SXSW.
Over the course of three days, more than 40 influencers were interviewed about how they envision a new way to work, and dozens more stopped by to network and connect with their fellow influencers.
Among some of notable interviewees was Amber Armstrong, Program Director, Social Business Market Making and Evangelism at IBM. Armstrong discussed IBM's new, revolutionary email platform Verse, which takes email to the next level. "Verse understands its client. It's tied to Watson, so the analytics are personalized. It understands how to connect you."
Another influencer that dropped by the lounge to discuss the new way to work was Chief Digital Strategist Brian Fanzo. When asked to predict how the work place will look in 25 years, Fanzo believes that human connections will be increasingly important. "I believe it's more about the conversation and less about the tools," he responds.
"I think it's going to be focused on community engagement. It's the idea of public conversation being associated with data, and those things being linked between the people having the conversations," Fanzo says.
Daina Middleton, Head of Global Business Marketing at Twitter, also discussed how social and digital will shape the new way to work. "Social media has become a part of everything we do," she says. "We have been taught that the focus is on persuasion, but today that's not enough. We need to get people to participate, and to take action on their behalf. That action can be done in digital form. Digital transcends the barrier of what's online and what's offline."
If anyone exemplifies the new way to work it's Tyson Chef Matt Boring. Boring studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago, and worked as a chef for several years until he realized he didn't want to work 90 hours a week for the rest of his life. He went back to college and got a degree in Public Relations. He worked in the field for a few years before being approached by the company to be the Online Community Manager for Tyson Foods, Inc. In that role, Chef Matt cultivates relationships with customers through online media such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and blogging, and is one of the culinary faces of Tyson Food Service at events.
When asked what he'd do if he was freed from the tyranny of answering countless emails, Boring replied that he would "spend more time creating content and spend more time on social media." And, of course, spend more time in the kitchen.
When asked that same question, Lulu Gephart, Manager, Social and Earned Media, REI, laughingly replies, "I would definitely go skiing." She adds, however that "the most rewarding part of my job is when I can get my team together and brainstorm ways to connect to customers. That's a lot of fun."
Toni Jones, Social Media Director at U Haul weighed in on what she thinks will have the most significant impact on the future of work. "I think that millennials will have the biggest impact. They have a completely different work ethic than people of my generation. They think that spending one year at an organization is enough. They're entrepreneurs-they want to be recognized, to advance quickly, and organizations are going to have to adapt to that."
It was a great weekend filled with energized discussions and predictions about the new way to work. Join the conversation on Twitter with #NewWayToWork and go to IBM.com/Verse to be one of the first to experience IBM Verse.